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Pres. Duterte says government to help subsidize OFWs returning from Kuwait

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018


Pres. Duterte once again expressed his anger over abuses against overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait during the oath-taking ceremony of newly appointed government officials in Malacañang on February 13.

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte once again expressed his anger over abuses against overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait during the oath-taking ceremony of newly appointed government officials in Malacañang on February 13.

The chief executive said the government is willing to do everything to help the Filipinos returning to the country from Kuwait.

“I want a total ban, and they will come here and we have to support them. Let’s use up the money of the government. It belongs to the people, we will subsidize them,”  said the president.

He once again called out Kuwait for the abuses of violent employers against OFWs.

The president also revealed that some Arabs wanted to talk to him on the issue of total deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait.

“Mayroon diyan tatlong arabo na gusto ako makausap (There are three Arabs who want to talk to me). Pag umuwi mga engineer, mga doktor, bagsak ekonomiya nila (If the engineers and doctors return home, their economy will go down),” said the chief executive.

After his speech, the president met with the members of the consultative committee who will study the 1987 Philippine Constitution. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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Ople Center warns Filipinos of “fake” job opportunities in Russia

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, February 19th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East were able to return to the Philippines through amnesty programs.

With this, many of them are now looking for new jobs and are planning to go abroad anew to look for new work opportunities.

However, the non-government organization, Blas F. Ople Policy Center has warned against job opportunities being offered in Russia.

According to the center’s head, Ms. Susan Ople, no job openings are being offered in Russia as of now, particularly to domestic helpers.

Based on the group’s monitoring, the illegal recruitment scheme is now spreading among Filipina domestic helpers in Hong Kong.

Those seeking to apply are asked to pay $10,000 US dollars.

“Merong mga nagrerecruit ginagamit nila yung Facebook. Sumisingil sila for a Russian visa tapos para sa accomodations. So pagdating nila sa Russia baon na baon na sa utang yung worker. Nakakausap namin yung mga illegally-recruited na OFWs sa Hong Kong dinala sa Russia pagdating dun wala naman silang trabaho,” said Ople.

(There are those who recruit using Facebook. They charge for Russian visa and accommodation. Upon their arrival in Russia, they are already buried in debt. We are communicating with OFWs illegally recruited from Hong Kong and brought to Russia where they later found out no jobs were waiting for them.)

In case OFWs do get jobs in the said country, the NGO explained that they could still face danger there.

“Kung makakuha sila ng part-time work tinatago sila ng employer. So tuwing may bisita, tinatago sila, hindi sila pwedeng lumabas. kung nakakalas man sila may mga pulis na pwede silang sitahin, minsan nakokotongan pa sila,” said Ople.

(If they do get part-time work, employers would hide them. So, when there’s a visitor, the Filipino workers are being hidden. They could not go out. If they are able to escape, the police could arrest them and sometimes even extort money from them.)

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III initially said that Russia is one of the countries the Philippines is considering as a market venue for skilled and professional Filipino workers. — Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue


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DFA respects Kuwait’s deadline for amnesty application for undocumented foreign workers

by UNTV   |   Posted on Saturday, February 17th, 2018

Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Secretary Cayetano said that the Philippine government asked the Kuwaiti government to extend its amnesty program for undocumented foreign workers.

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Allan Peter Cayetano went on a meeting with the Kuwait Ambassador to the Philippines, Musaed Saleh Althwaikh, on Thursday.

“There is a severe outrage or to the highest level of outrage not just from the Kuwaiti government but also from the Kuwaiti people,” said Cayetano.

Cayetano said that their discussions were focused on the welfare of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait following the ghastly fate of Filipina domestic helper Joanna Demafelis.

Initial investigation revealed her cadaver, which showed signs of torture, has been inside the freezer for one year.

Cayetano also revealed that Kuwait authorities received information that Demafelis’ employer even reported that she fled and went missing.

The DFA secretary said the Kuwaiti government is now searching for the primary suspects in the crime, who were also the employers of Demafelis.

“Of course Interpol is involved so, I do believe that this case will have special attention not only from the media, not only from the diplomats of other countries,” said the official.

Secretary Cayetano said that the Philippine government also asked the Kuwaiti government to extend its amnesty program for undocumented foreign workers.

The program is supposed to end on the 22nd of February.

“We asked for another three months. It’s normal for any country to have immigration laws. It’s normal for any country in their migration or immigration policies to go after the undocumented,” said Cayetano.

It can be recalled the Philippine embassy informed Filipino authorities that the Kuwaiti government will conduct a crackdown on undocumented migrant workers in the Arab nation in March.

As of February 14, seven hundred fifty-nine (759) undocumented OFWs have already been repatriated from Kuwait. — Mai Bermudez | UNTV News and Rescue

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OWWA warns recall of agency officials in Kuwait over negligence in Demafelis’ murder

by UNTV   |   Posted on Saturday, February 17th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Based on the Labor Department’s initial investigation, labor authorities confirmed that OWWA officials in Kuwait failed to act on the case of Joanna Demafelis, the Filipina worker who was found dead inside a freezer in her employer’s home.

In fact, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, Friday, confirmed that OWWA officer Maria Sarah Concepcion was already recalled following orders from Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

“[Maria Sarah Concepcion] was ordered recalled by the Secretary. When Concepcion comes home, there will be a deeper look into this. And there were three communications sent to the welfare officer in Kuwait.  To say the least, they were not acted upon. That is our findings so far and that’s the reason for her recall,” said the Owwa administrator.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) added that there are still other agency officials who are likely to be recalled soon or be relieved from their post once proved that they have been negligent in providing a solution to the increasing number of abuses and murders against Filipino workers in the said gulf state.

“There will be more recalls of our officials there as we go along with our investigation,” said Labor Undersecretary Jing Paras.

OWWA is now looking into other cases of murder against OFWs by their employers in Kuwait.

Meanwhile, regarding his meeting with Kuwaiti officials concerning the murder of Demafelis, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano assured that the Kuwaiti government has expressed its commitment to help in the pursuit and capture of the suspects.

“They said outraged ang gobyerno nila, gagawin nila ang lahat (They said their government is outraged and promises to do everything they can)to bring the accused to justice . Iyong kaniyang  (Demafelis’) death is very tragic but will also be a rallying point for all of the government agencies to be more aggressive abroad in helping our OFWs be protected and also dito (here),” said the foreign affairs secretary. — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue


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